Documents considered by the Committee on 18th November 2016 Contents

7Passenger ship safety

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

(a) and (c) Cleared from scrutiny; (b) Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested

Document details

(a) Proposed Directive about safety rules and standards for passenger ships; (b) Proposed Directive about registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the Member States and reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States; (c) Proposed Directive about a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft in regular service

Legal base

Article 100(2) TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV

Department

Transport

Document Number

(a) (37832), 9953/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 369
(b) (37833), 9964/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 370
(c) (37834), 9965/16 + ADDs 1–3, COM(16) 371

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

7.1In June 2016 the Commission published three proposed amending Directives, which aim to simplify and streamline the existing EU passenger ship safety legislation. When, in July 2016, we considered these proposals the Government, commented positively on aspects of the present proposals, but said that it was considering its position on the details and drew our attention to a number of issues it had already identified as needing further consideration. We recognised the potential utility of these simplification proposals. But before considering them further we asked to hear from the Government about its more detailed consideration of the proposed Directives. In particular we wished to hear further about the issues it had drawn to our attention.

7.2The Government now tells us that the Council’s Shipping Working Party negotiation of two of the proposals, concerning safety rules and standards for passenger ships and Port State Control inspections, have very largely met UK concerns and that it is expected that the December 2016 Transport Council will agree General Approaches on these proposed Directives. As for the third proposal, concerning registration of persons and reporting formalities, the Government says that Working Party discussion have only just begun and that there is nothing yet of significance to report.

7.3We note that, notwithstanding failure to resolve the longstanding issue of wave height limits, the Government is satisfied that the proposals concerning safety rules and standards for passenger ships and Port State Control inspections now meet UK interests. Accordingly we clear these two proposed Directives from scrutiny.

7.4As for the third proposal, concerning registration of persons and reporting formalities, we retain this document under scrutiny, pending information on developments in its negotiation. We remind the Government that that information should cover the issue of the practicality of using Automatic Identification Systems for recording passenger numbers.

Full details of the documents

(a) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships: (37832), 9953/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 369; (b) Proposal for a Directive amending Council Directive 98/41/EC on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the Member States of the Community and amending Directive 2010/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States: (37833), 9964/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 370; (c) Proposal for a Directive on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft in regular service and amending Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on port state control and repealing Council Directive 1999/35/EC: (37834), 9965/16 + ADDs 1–3, COM(16) 371.

Background

7.5REFIT is the Commission’s programme to assess the fitness and performance of existing EU policies. In June 2016, following a REFIT evaluation and a subsequent consultation amongst Member States, the Commission published three proposed amending Directives, which aim to simplify and streamline the existing EU passenger ship safety legislation. The Commission’s aim is to ensure that EU rules remain proportionate, are correctly implemented, avoid overlap and inconsistencies between related legislation, and maintain a clear, simple legal framework.

7.6When, in July 2016, we considered these proposals the Government reminded us that it welcomed the outcome of the REFIT evaluation, commented positively on aspects of the present proposals, but said that it was considering its position on the details and drew our attention to a number of issues it had already identified as needing further consideration.

7.7We recognised the potential utility of these simplification proposals. But before considering them further we asked to hear from the Government about its more detailed consideration of the proposed Directives. In particular we wished to hear further about the issue of Delegated Acts, the question of wave height limits, removal of references to some chapters of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) and the related question of external competence, and the practicality of using Automatic Identification Systems for recording passenger numbers. Meanwhile the documents remained under scrutiny.

The Minister’s letter of 4 November 2016

7.8The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mr John Hayes) now tells us that, so far, under the Slovak Presidency the Council’s Shipping Working Party has considered two elements of the package: the proposal to amend Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships, document (a); and the proposal for a Directive on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft in regular service and to amend Directive 2009/16/EC on port state control and repeal Directive 1999/35/EC, document (c). He says that it is expected that a General Approach on both these proposals will be agreed at the Transport Council on 1 December 2016.

7.9The Minister recalls that the Government broadly welcomed the proposed simplification measures but had concerns about some aspects, including the delegation of certain functions to the Commission. He says that the Government raised these during the negotiations, and then details the outcomes, as follows.

Safety rules and standards for passenger ships

7.10The Minister says that the Government was successful in achieving its key objectives for the proposal on safety rules and standards for passenger ships, document (a), including the exclusion of passenger ships of vessels below 24 metres, offshore service vessels, and sailing ships from the scope of the proposed Directive. He adds that:

7.11Turning to the Government’s two main concerns with the proposed Directive the Minister says that it has managed to largely resolve these. He explains that:

7.12The Minister says secondly, that the original proposal sought to remove the references to Chapters II-1, II-2 and III of SOLAS from Article 14 of the current Directive, which required the EU to expedite the ongoing work to revise SOLAS in these areas. He tells us that:

7.13The Minister then turns to two other issues. First, reminding us that Directive 2009/45/EC divides passenger ships into classes according to the sea area in which they operate, he says that:

7.14The Minister continues that the Government has not, however, been able to remove significant wave heights from the sea area definition. He explains that:

Port State Control inspections

7.15The Minister says that the Government continues to welcome that the proposal to repeal and replace Directive 1999/35/EC, document (c), does not extend the scope of requirements and acts only to remove overlaps with other Port State Control requirements. He reports that no significant concerns have been raised during Shipping Working Party discussions and the Government is content that this deregulation will bring benefits to both ship operators and national administrations.

Safety rules and standards for passenger ships and Port State Control inspections

7.16The Minister summarises by saying that:

Registration of persons and reporting formalities

7.17The Minister tells us that:

7.18Finally the Minister notes that consideration of the whole package by the European Parliament is also likely to take place in early 2017.

Previous Committee Reports

Eighth Report HC 71-vi (2016–17), chapter 9 (13 July 2016).





21 November 2016